“And what about you?”
“I’m on the same road I was a year ago, just a little nearer to the end now.”
“Lucifer?” He shuddered as the name drifted in a whisper beyond his lips.
He shut his eyes and said nothing at first, and when it seemed like he might deign to speak, he turned and wrapped her in his strong, thick arms. Nothing else was said as they embraced, he was simply content to let his arms envelop her protectively.
If she let herself go, she might have cried. She had certainly shed her fair share of tears in the last few days, but she managed to keep them back even as he held her tight. There was a flurry of thoughts that scattered out of the shadows, but it was difficult to grasp any long enough to recognize what it was. At times, she could have sworn she saw the apparition of Tatiana’s face, her round cheeks framed by curly wisps of blonde hair. But the emotion that caught fire in her heart wasn’t the sadness of what was lost. It was love. A love unspoken, yes, but it was the one emotion she knew that mattered more than all the rest. More present even than the fear she often felt as her familiar road grew dark. In his warm embrace she held to the memory of her dearest friend, the one she loved, despite the absence of the courage needed to express how much.
“Whatever happens, you stay safe out there.”
Lilith pulled back enough to meet his gaze. “I will.”
“You end him. For all of us. But I don’t want to see you beyond that damn Veil, not just yet. Do you hear me?”
A name is a fragile thing. You never really think about it until it truly matters, and for Samael, it seemed to matter now in a way it never did before. His name was taken from him, forgotten in the endless torments of this forsaken place. All that remained was the name given to him by the Angel who raised him from the pit. He never hated that name as much as now. I have to find it again. Not the name Lucifer gave me. The name my mother chose. My name.
“Remember who you were,” he said to himself as he wandered along a shadowed field that stretched as far as his eyes could see. “Her name was Amani, and she loved you.”
Her deep brown skin, her stark green eyes. The raven color of her hair, and the way it tumbled down her shoulders. Those were the things that came back to him, the remnants of memories dragged out of a forgotten past. Amani was her name, and she knew what his had been. If only he could hear her voice once more; it might stir that one forgotten piece out of the shadows that kept it hidden.
But Hell tore away what was light and good within a human soul, leaving only the pall of shadows and the whispers of madness that never left. As a demon, Samael had done everything he could to rid himself of fear. This place was rife with it, of course, and always near as well.
Now, he was here again, wandering the blasted fields of a place he hoped he would never see again. The fog was just as he remembered it, rotten and heavy in the air, hugging the ground and stirring in the stillness.
“It is time we had a talk.” Michael walked forward and sat in the deep red chair Joseph had occupied and watched as his brother took a seat as well.
“Is it too late for that now?”
“Maybe.” Michael spoke, but neither of them knew whether it truly was or not. They were always inclined to believe that too much had been done to ever hope this gamble might change the course of what was yet to come. “But I would feel remiss if I didn’t try.”
“Would you believe me if I said that I had missed you?” Lucifer was a liar. Everyone knew that much about him, even if they didn’t believe he existed. But this… this was perhaps the first time in centuries he had told the truth without compunction.
Lucifer smiled then, a handsome smile that hinted at another side of him, lesser known and rarely understood. It might shock some people to think that Lucifer Morningstar had not always been the way he was now.